Since starting to play golf regularly about six years ago, my game has improved. My handicap has dropped about 15 points. But it's a case of faltering baby steps forward and, often, a step or two backward. Progress is frustratingly slow. Golf is at the same time a great social pastime and a very personal competition between mind and body. It takes focus, hand-to-eye coordination, discipline, and endurance.
I'm sure this doesn't sound like fun to some people. But it's hard to communicate the best of this game. There are so many moments that make up a four hour round of eighteen holes:
Intense anticipation while lining up your drive on the first tee.
The heady sweetness in the air early on a clear summer morning.
Exhultation when you hit a shot exactly as planned.
The satisfying sound of impact on your club's sweet spot.
Warm and honest moments with your golf friends.
Eternal hope for that hole-in-one.
Delight at sharing the course with wildlife.
Expansive views of landscapes.
The scent of turf damp with moisture.
The belief that "this will be the day" for...whatever.
So we gladly tolerate body soreness, uncooperative clubs, blow-up holes, bad bounces, water hazards, the occasional snake, cactus thorns in our socks, wind, bunkers, and capricious miscellaneous blows from the Golf Gods. We're on the golf course with friends, and it's all good.
P.S. I have a lesson today at 11:30, because I can't hit an iron right now to save my life. Tee time for 1:00 with the girls.